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McCullock Finney c

McCullock Finney c. Canada (Attorney General)

2009 QCCS 4646















 October 14, 2009









Christina McCullock Finney



Attorney General of Canada


Attorney General of Quebec


Canadian Bar Association


Federation of Law Societies of Canada







a)     on Exceptions to Dismiss the Introductory Motion on behalf of Defendants Attorney General of Canada (nos. 8 and 18) and Attorney General of Quebec (no. 10)


b)     on Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss the Exceptions to Dismiss above-noted (no. 20)




[1]                On January 31st, 2008, Christina McCullock Finney instituted an Introductory Motion against Defendants Attorney General of Canada (AGC) and Attorney General of Quebec (AGQ) in the form of a "Charter Challenge" alleging numerous provisions of the Canadian charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as of the Charte québécoise des droits et libertés.  Essentially, Mrs. Finney alleges that the AGC and the AGQ have, during the period of 1990 to 2006, violated her rights by repeatedly depriving her of her fundamental "right to understand" Court proceedings by using the French language or by filing documents and legal pleadings drafted in the French language, in legal confrontations in which she was involved.

[2]                Mrs. Finney alleges that the use, by the AGC and AGQ of spoken or written French in the various legal proceedings in which she was a party from the Fall of 1990 to October 2006 had the effect of denying her constitutional rights to due process and a fair hearing.

[3]                Mrs. Finney adds that the acts, errors or omissions of both Attorneys General are intentional and amount to gross negligence to a point where her lawful and legal access to the Courts, as protected by ss. 7 and 14 of the Canadian Charter, was compromised; the use of French denied her the "rights to understand" what was going on in the trials in which she was involved.

[4]                More particularly, she claims that during a trial which lasted 18 days before the Honourable Mr. Justice Jean Normand and where she was representing herself, the Trial Judge denied her the benefit of translation of French debates or proceedings, while she could not afford the services of Court interpreters, translators and/or bilingual stenographers.

[5]                Mrs. Finney alleges that her "ordeal" with the Quebec justice system started in 1990 when lawyer Eric Belhassen sued her for professional services rendered and unpaid (500-02-035289-904).  Her apparent lack of fluency in French prevented her from understanding most of the proceedings and most of what occurred at trial.

[6]                Over the 16 or 17 year period above-noted, Mrs. Finney was allegedly involved in some 38 different court cases[1] where, in some instances, judges refused to translate legal proceedings or debates, refused to furnish her with the free services of translators or court stenographers.  As a result, Mrs. Finney alleges that she was physically and mentally affected to the point of not being able to continue her profession as a teacher. She allegedly suffered grave prejudice as a direct result of not being able to understand arguments either spoken or drafted in French, legal proceedings, documents, exhibits, etc…as well as not being able to adequately participate in said court proceedings.

[7]                Mrs. Finney's action is brought against both Defendants Governments for their role in the violation of her constitutional rights more particularly in that they have failed to provide a judicial system in the province of Quebec where she, as a unilingual Anglophone, could not have access to, and equality before the law.  In other words, she blames both the AGC and the AGQ for not causing appropriate legislation ensuring that French-to-English and interpreter translation services are offered at no costs in Quebec civil courts.

[8]                As a result, Mrs. Finney suffered medical problems as a direct consequence of her humiliation, fear, loss of dignity and ridicule because of the unfair treatment imposed upon her.

[9]                Mrs. Finney seeks compensatory damages, exemplary and punitive damages and a declaration that the actions and non-actions of both Governments were illegal.

[10]            In 2003, the AGC attempted to intervene in case no. 29344 before the Supreme Court of Canada where Mrs Finney was a party.  The intervention proceedings were in French whilst the AGC was fully and knowingly aware of the fact that she was a unilingual Anglophone.  However, it is to be noted that Mrs. Finney was represented by Counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada.

[11]            Mrs. Finney seeks the following conclusions:

GRANT the present motion;

DECLARE that the actions of Defendants and their agents are illegal and violate Mrs. Finney's constitutional, civil and legal rights;

AWARD compensatory and punitive damages to Mrs. Finney in an amount that is fair, just and reasonable;

ORDER such further and immediate relief as the Court considers just for Plaintiff Finney in particular and for the official minority in general.


[12]            Mrs . Finney's Introductory Motion was amended and particularized as a result of Mr. Justice Pierre Tessier's judgment of 8 May 2008.  Her last re-amended and particularized Motion is dated August 14, 2008.  This document adds the following elements to the petitioner's original Application.

[13]            Firstly, she defines the constitutional importance of the issue in the form of an infringement to section 7 of the Canadian Charter in that the right to understand what goes on in a court of law is not a language issue but a constitutional right to a full and fair hearing.

[14]            Secondly, she also identifies the 38 various instances which the alleged violations occurred as well as the names of the Superior Court judges who would have refused to accede to her request for free translation or interpreter services.

[15]            Thirdly, she identifies the consequences of said violations upon her, her ability to work, the medical problems allegedly suffered and the mental anguish resulting from the numerous violations of her right to fully understand all testimonies, arguments, written and verbal pleadings, etc.

[16]            Finally, she identified the legislative texts which the Governments failed to put in place in order to remedy the situation.

[17]            The AGC and AGQ raise the following propositions in support of their respective Exceptions to Dismiss:

a)        By the AGC:


i)              Plaintiff has no standing to seek a declaratory relief;

ii)            Plaintiff has no chance of success in her claim for damages and/or other relief;

iii)          Plaintiff did not complain of AGC's choice of language in prior written pleadings before the Court;

iv)          Plaintiff's claim is prescribed.


b)        By the AGQ:


i)               Plaintiff's claim is barred by the Rule of Res Judicata;

ii)             Plaintiff's claim is prescribed.



[18]            The Plaintiff proposes that in any civil trial, an English speaking party should be provided with oral and written translation services, free of charge, at all stages of proceedings, based upon her alleged constitutional right to understand what is happening in a Court of law where her rights and obligations are being tried.

[19]            Conversely, any French-speaking party would also be entitled to reciprocal free translation and interpreter services wherever and wherever the English language is used in legal proceedings.

[20]            The Plaintiff does not dispute the fact that such translation and interpreter services are available at the cost of the party seeking them.  What she argues is that these services should be provided by the government at its cost.

[21]            In her written submissions, Mrs. Finney essentially bases her position on Section 7 of the Canadian Charter[2] which reads as follows:

"Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of natural justice."

[22]            She also raises Section 14 which states:

"A party or witness in any proceeding who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter."

[23]            It is now well settled that the guarantees offered by sections 7 and 14 are applicable in matters dealing with criminal or quasi-criminal issues and, as a result, have caused the adoption of sections 530, 530.1, 530.2, 531, 532, 533 and 533.1 C.Cr. which specifically deal with this same issue in criminal matters.  It does not appear, however, that these sections apply to civil proceedings.  Hence the present "constitutional challenge".  Mrs. Finney may, on the other hand, always have the right to an interpreter in a civil matter, but at her own cost and not at the cost of the collectivity.

[24]            Nevertheless, Mrs. Finney is framing her application on section 24.1 of the Canadian charter which states that:

"Anyone whose rights or freedoms as guaranteed by this Charter have been infringed or denied may apply to a Court of competent jurisdiction to obtain such remedy as the Court considers appropriate and just in the circumstances."

[25]            Section 24.1 is a procedural vehicle.  It does not create rights.  It is a way, an entrance, to be used by a person whose rights are being infringed.  It does not alter the rules of law pursuant to which the Plaintiff's rights are to be examined.  More simply put, if Mrs. Finney has no rights to assert, section 24.1 does not provide any.

[26]            A party who seeks relief or who is sued by another before the judicial system anywhere in Canada should expect to incur costs, disbursements, fees and other charges.  It is not true that the present judicial system is in anyway gratuitous.

[27]            The inherent costs of translating documents, pleadings or testimonies have always been supported by the party requesting same.  Provinces of Canada have enacted legislation to provide legal aid or legal assistance for those who are in need but for all others, who do not qualify, legal costs and disbursements are their own.  Mrs. Finney has not alleged that she was needy and that the exercise of her legal rights were in jeopardy by reason of the refusal of the two levels of government to provide her with free translation and interpreter services.  In short, her "life liberty and security" are clearly not at stake here.  Mrs. Finney believes that, because she is a unilingual Anglophone, she is entitled to walk into any civil Court of law in this country and demand and obtain free translation and interpreter services.  This is not so.  This is not the law of this country and/or of this province and unless the governments legislate in such a direction, it cannot be so demanded and obtained, nor can this Court impose this obligation upon any level of government to force it to enact such legislation.

[28]            Mrs. Finney relies upon certain decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada which should be reviewed and replaced in their legal and procedural context.

[29]            In Hunt v. Carey Canada Inc. [1992] 2 SCR 959, the Supreme Court simply reiterated the basic principle suggesting that a case should be heard fully and completely before it is decided upon and even more so when the decision is rendered in the context of a summary application for dismissal based on absence of reasonable chance of success.  The undersigned agrees with the following principle (per Wilson J.):

Over a long period of years it has been firmly established by many authorities that the power to strike out a statement of claim as disclosing no reasonable cause of action is a summary power which should be exercised only in plain and obvious cases.

In my opinion the traditional and hitherto accepted view - that the power should only be used in plain and obvious cases - is correct according to the evident intention of the rule for several reasons.  First, there is in r 19 (1) (a) the expression 'reasonable cause of action' to which Sir Nathaniel Lindley MR called attention in Hubbuck & Sons Ltd v. Wilkinson, Heywood and Clark Ltd.  No exact paraphrase can be given, but I think 'reasonable cause of action' means a cause of action with some chance of success, when (as required by r 19 (2)) only the allegations in the pleading are considered.  If when those allegations are examined it is found that the alleged cause of action is certain to fail, the statement of claim should be struck out.  In Nagle v Feilden Danckwerts LJ said:

'The summary remedy which has been applied to this action is one which is only to be applied in plain and obvious cases, when the action is one which cannot succeed or is in some way an abuse of the process of the court'.

                                                                  (emphasis added)

[30]            Consequently, if the Court concludes that Mrs. Finney's recourse may have some chance of success, even a remote and difficult one, the Motions to Dismiss will have to be dismissed.  Otherwise, they shall have to be granted.  So far, the Court is convinced that this recourse has absolutely no chance of success.

[31]            In the matter of Barreau du Québec vs Fortin and Chrétien [2001] 2 SCR 5, it was held that the respondents Fortin and Chrétien could validly institute an action against the Quebec government even though the initiating proceeding had been drafted by a non-advocate third party.  The Court agrees.  The nullity of a contract for legal services to be furnished by a non-advocate does not affect the validity of the resulting proceedings.  This case, with great respect, has no bearing on the issue at bar.

[32]            In Société des Acadiens du Nouveau-Brunswick vs Association of Parents for Fairness in Education [1986] 1 SCR 549, the facts were as follows (as summarized in the headnote, p. 551):

Appellants brought an action seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against the mis-en-cause to prevent it from offering immersion programs to French-speaking students in its English schools.  The New Brunswick Court of Queen's Bench delivered a judgment - later clarified in two subsequent decisions - in favour of the appellants but refused to issue the injunction.  The mis-en-cause, despite pressure from parents of the students who would have enrolled in the program, decided not to appeal the judgment as clarified.  The parents created the respondent Association and made applications for leave to appeal the judgment and for an extension of the appeal period.  Prior to the hearing before Stratton J.A. in the court of Appeal, the appellants requested that the matter be heard by a bilingual judge as some of the presentations were to be made in French.  Stratton J.A. acceded to the request and referred the matter to another judge who decided that the matter had to be dealt with by a panel of the Court.  A panel of three, Stratton J.A. presiding, granted respondent's applications.  Hence this appeal to determine (1) whether the New Brunswick Court of Appeal had inherent jurisdiction to grant leave to appeal when the person seeking leave was not a party to the original action and was applying out of time, and if so, whether it exercised its discretion properly; and (2) whether s. 19(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms entitles a party in a court of New Brunswick to be heard by a court, the member or members of which are capable of understanding the proceedings, the evidence and the arguments, written and oral, regardless of the official language used by the parties.

[33]            The Court held, inter alia, that (pp. 552-553):

(2)  The Constitutional Issue

Per Beetz, Estey, Chouinard, Lamer and Le Dain JJ.:  The principles of natural justice as well as s. 13(1) of the Official Languages of New Brunswick Act entitle a party pleading in a court of New Brunswick to be heard by a court, the member or members of which are capable by any reasonable means of understanding the proceedings, the evidence and the arguments, written and oral, regardless of the official language used by the parties.  But no such entitlement can be derived from s. 19(2) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  The rights guaranteed by s. 19(2) with respect to the courts of New Brunswick are of the same nature and scope as those guaranteed by s. 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867 with respect to the courts of Canada and the courts of Quebec.  The language of s. 19 was clearly and deliberately borrowed from s. 133 and should be similarly construed.  These rights are essentially language rights unrelated to and not to be confused with the requirements of natural justice.  They vest in the speaker or in the writer or issuer of court processes and give the speaker or the writer the constitutionally protected power to speak or to write in the official language of his choice.  But there is no language guarantee, either under s. 133 of the Constitution Act, 1867 or s. 19 of the Charter, that the speaker will be heard or understood, or that he has the right to be heard or understood in the language of his choice.

This interpretation of s. 19(2) does not offend s. 16 of the Charter which contains a principle of advancement in the equality of status or use of the two official languages.  The principle of advancement is linked with the legislative process referred to in s. 16(3) and the legislative process, unlike the judicial one, is a political process particularly suited to the advancement of rights founded on political compromise.

The common law right of the parties to be heard and understood by a court and the right to understand what is going on in court is not a language right but an aspect of the right to a fair hearing.  This right belongs to the category of rights which in the Charter are designated as legal rights and protected at least in part by provisions such as those of ss. 7 and 14.  It would constitute an error to import the requirements of natural justice into language rights, or to relate one type of right to the other.  Unlike language rights which are based on political compromise, legal rights tend to be seminal in nature because they are rooted in principle.  Some of them, such as the one expressed in s. 7 of the Charter, are so broad as to call for frequent judicial determination.  Language rights, on the other hand, although some of them have been enlarged and incorporated into the Charter, remain nonetheless founded on political compromise.  This essential difference between the two types of rights dictates a distinct judicial approach with respect to each.  More particularly, the courts should pause before they decide to act as instruments of change with respect to language rights.  This is not to say that language rights provisions are cast in stone and should remain immune altogether from judicial interpretation.  But the courts should approach them with more restraint than they would in construing legal rights.

                                                                                                  (emphasis added)

[34]            This case stands for the first proposition that a party must be able to rely on the constitutional guarantee that the judge will be capable of hearing and understanding what is going on in the Court he presides over.  The undersigned agrees with this proposition, which is quite different from the submission of the Plaintiff herein.  The question here is not for the judge to understand what is going on but for Mrs. Finney to benefit from free translation and interpreter charges.

[35]            But this case also stand for the second proposition that a party may address the Court, whether orally or in writing, in anyone of the official languages of Canada.  Consequently, Mrs. Finney may choose to speak and write in English and the trial judge will have to be able to understand what she is saying.  But her opponent may also choose to speak or write in French.

[36]            As we will see, the answer to the question of whether Mrs. Finney is constitutionally entitled to understand what is said or written by the adverse party who may choose to speak French, is given by other decisions which will be further reviewed below.  But the Court notes that despite a strong complaint on her part, Mrs. Finney has been unable to submit any relevant doctrine or case law supporting her position.  If the undersigned was to base his decision only upon the foregoing authorities, Mrs. Finney would not succeed.

[37]            In order to decide the fate of the three Motions before it, the Court must also look at the arguments brought forward by the Defendants and determine whether Mrs. Finney has, nevertheless, any chance of success, even a faint or very remote one.




A)        Standing

[38]            The AGC alleges that Mrs. Finney has no standing to sue.  She may not have any standing to sue "on behalf of the collectivity" but she has standing to sue for herself.

[39]            If Mrs. Finney cannot raise a valid case for herself, it seems quite clear that she would not be able to raise one on behalf of the collectivity.  Furthermore, there are no facts alleged in Mrs. Finney's Application which could, even in the most extreme or remote possibilities, permit a Court of law to analyse the situation and exercise its discretion in granting her status to debate this issue as a "representative of the collectivity".

[40]            Plaintiff complains of an alleged wrong doing which, if actionable, has been perpetrated against her personally.  It is obvious that the Plaintiff has standing to claim such relief.  Her recourse may be declaratory in nature but Mrs. Finney is entitled to seek a declaratory judgment for her own interest and benefit, coupled to a claim for damages (or a declaration of entitlement to damages), provided however that her claim is not prescribed or terminated by application of the rule of Res Judicata.

[41]            The Thorson[3], Nova Scotia Board of Censors[4] and Borowski[5] matters sought to grant status to persons challenging certain situations where they either had no personal interest or no specific interest to institute their recourse.  These decisions stand for the proposition that a person with no personal interest may nevertheless be given standing to sue by the Court, in the exercise of its discretion.

[42]            But here, Mrs. Finney is the person who allegedly suffered the alleged prejudice.  She is entitled to sue, to attempt to correct a wrong doing which no one else seems to be concerned with.

[43]            Subject to the other arguments raised by the Defendants and analyzed below, the Court is of the opinion that Mrs. Finney has the necessary legal interest or "locus standi" to institute the present proceedings.  Once again, Mrs. Finney does not attempt to justify her recourse as one made on behalf of the collectivity.  Her position is formulated strictly as her own.  There is nothing in Mrs. Finney's Application which could justify the Court's discretion in favour of allowing her special standing if she does not succeed personally.



B)  The argument of prescription

[44]            The alleged rights which the Plaintiff is seeking to assert are personal rights, even if such rights are labelled as constitutional or fundamental rights.  They are subject to extinctive prescription in the same manner as any other personal rights would be.

[45]            See Ravndahl v. Saskatchewan [2009] S.C.C. 7, which states:

16.        It was argued below that statutory limitation periods do not apply to personal claims for constitutional relief.  Personal claims for constitutional relief are claims brought as an individual qua individual for a personal remedy.  As will be discussed below, personal claims in this sense must be distinguished from claims which may enure to affected persons generally under an action for a declaration that a law is unconstitutional.

17.        The argument that The Limitation of Actions Act does not apply to personal claims was abandoned before us, counsel for the appellant conceding that The Limitations of Actions Act applies to such claims.  This is consistent with this Court's decision in Kingstreet Investments Ltd. V. New Brunswick (Finance)[2007] SCC 1, 2007 1 S.C.R. 3 , which held that limitation periods apply to claims for personal remedies that flow from the striking down of an unconstitutional statute.

23.        In this case, there is but one cause of action which arose on April 17, 1985, when s. 15 of the Charter came into force.

24.              Since the appellant's cause of action arose on April 17, 1985 and the six-year limitation period set out s. 3 of The Limitation of Actions Act is applicable, the appellant's personal claims, which were commenced almost a decade out of time, are statute-barred.

 (emphasis added)

[46]            Article 2925 C.c.Q. provides that:

"An action to enforce a personal right or moveable real right is prescribed by three years if the prescriptive period is not otherwise established."

                                                                                                   (emphasis added)

[47]            The Plaintiff must therefore demonstrate that an act, error or omission has occurred in one or more of the various instances in which she has been involved and that such act, error or omission is imputable to one of the Defendants or to both of them.

[48]            Accordingly, all 38 files alleged at paragraph 7 of Plaintiff's Reamended Motion to institute Proceedings must be examined and only those proceedings in those files which were still pending and active within three years of the issuance of Plaintiff's original Motion may form the factual basis of Mrs. Finney's recourse.  In other words, if the instances invoked by Plaintiff have been terminated more than three years prior to the institution of her action, these instances cannot be invoked in support of her present Application.  Furthermore, in any instance not terminated and still in existence within the last three years in question, only those proceedings dispositions or court appearances occurring within that period, may be considered.

[49]            Plaintiff's recourse has been filed as of the 31st day of January 2008.  Consequently, only those proceedings still in existence after the 31st day of January 2005 may be considered.

[50]            The Court is of the view that, here, the principles of application of the partial inscription in law recently developed by the Quebec Court of Appeal and confirmed by the Supreme  Court of Canada, must be applied.

[51]            See:  Oznaga v. Société des Loteries et courses du Québec [1981] CanLii 28(S.C.C.); [1981] 2 SCR 113; Ormsbee v. Bell Canada [1990] R.R.A. 667 ; Cheftechni c. Esposito, J.E. 92-133 (C.A.) and more recently Corbeil v. Gatineau (Ville de) 2009 QCCQ 10 :

[66]            Cela dit, l'approche des tribunaux n'est, sur cette question, pas aussi rigide qu'elle ne le paraît de prime abord. C'est que, en effet, il se présente des cas d'espèce dans lesquels la règle prohibant l'irrecevabilité partielle engendre des conséquences qui sont difficilement compatibles avec la perception que l'on se fait de plus en plus de ce qui relève de la saine administration de la justice.

[67]            Or, c'est précisément cette dynamique qui inspire les auteurs Ferland et Émery lorsqu'ils écrivent, à la page 291 de leur ouvrage précédemment cité:

«La Cour suprême et la Cour d'appel ont néanmoins déjà accueilli une requête en irrecevabilité à l'égard d'une partie seulement d'une action, en permettant le rejet de causes d'action individualisées et dissociables.

La Cour d'appel signalait toutefois que, s'«il est vrai que l'irrecevabilité partielle n'existe plus dans notre droit, il y aurait lieu de reconsidérer cette question à la lumière de l'article 1458 C.c.Q.» [Syndicat du garage du Cours Le Royer c. Gagnon, [1995] R.J.Q. 1313 , 1316 (C.A.)]. [soulignements ajoutés]

[70]            Ainsi, déjà en 1990, la Cour d'appel s'inspirait d'un arrêt de la Cour suprême pour accueillir une requête en irrecevabilité à l'égard de la réclamation du demandeur visé par la requête. Dans l'affaire Ormsbec c. Bell Canada, [1990] R.R.A. 677 (C.A.), l'arrêtiste résumait la position de la Cour dans les termes suivants, à la page 678:

«[…] Il est possible d'accueillir la requête en irrecevabilité à l'égard d'une partie de la demande seulement, comme l'a fait la Cour suprême du Canada dans l'arrêt Oznaga c. Société d'exploitation des loteries et courses du Québec, [1981] 2 R.C.S. 113 . Le recours du demandeur, qui réclame des dommages corporels, est distinct de celui des deux autres demandeurs. Son recours est clairement irrecevable, de même que celui de la compagnie d'assurances demanderesse, qui réclame en raison d'une subrogation partielle aux droits de ce demandeur.» [soulignements ajoutés]

[71]            Le juge Bélanger, de son côté, y énonçait son opinion de façon encore plus claire, à la page 680:

«De toute façon, le recours du demandeur Ormsbec en est un distinct de ceux exercés par les autres demandeurs. Ainsi, en fonction de l'article 4 de la loi, il doit être déclaré irrecevable.


[…] [S]on recours est irrecevable autant qu'il s'agisse de dommages corporels, même s'il ne s'agissait que d'une irrecevabilité partielle.» [soulignements ajoutés]

[72]            Puis, en 1995, dans l'arrêt antérieurement cité Syndicat du garage du Cours Le Royer c. Gagnon, le juge Brossard poussait l'application du raisonnement un cran plus loin, l'appliquant non seulement aux recours émanant de deux demandeurs distincts jumelés dans une même demande en justice, mais aussi aux causes d'action distinctes jumelées dans le même recours. Il s'en explique dans les termes suivants, à la page 1316:

«Les intimés répliquent que le remède utilisé est le seul disponible puisque l'irrecevabilité partielle n'existe plus dans notre droit, comme le confirment ces arrêts récents de notre Cour. Il me paraît qu'il y aurait lieu de reconsidérer la question à la lumière de l'article 1458 C.c.Q..

Je suis d'avis, en effet, que le remède approprié dans les circonstances devrait précisément être la requête en irrecevabilité partielle pour faire déclarer irrecevable et rejeter tout ce qui,  dans l'action, relève des règles du régime de responsabilité délictuelle.

Par ailleurs, comme aucune des parties n'a soulevé cette question, ni en première instance ni devant notre Cour, et dans la mesure où la procédure doit être la servante du droit, je crois qu'il nous est loisible de considérer le fond du litige comme si la requête originale en avait été une en irrecevabilité des allégations et conclusions fondées sur les règles de la responsabilité délictuelle.» [soulignements ajoutés]

[73]            Or, la grille d'analyse retenue est d'autant plus pertinente que, dans la présente affaire, il s'agit aussi de décider si, pour les fins de la requête en irrecevabilité, les «allégations et conclusions fondées sur les règles de la responsabilité extracontractuelle» - les dommages causés par la faute des préposés de la Ville ainsi que par la faute et l'illégalité de la décision prise par le Conseil municipal  - peuvent être dissociées de l'autre «allégation et conclusion» -  soit le remboursement du dépôt remis à la Ville en prévision de la réalisation d'un projet qui ne s'est pas matérialisé -.


[74]            Puis, dès l'année suivante, soit en 1996, c'était au tour de la Cour supérieure d'alimenter la réflexion. En effet, dans l'affaire Sauvageau c. Leroux, [1996] R.R.A. 1241 (C.S.), le juge Trudel emprunte la voie tracée par la Cour d'appel: il accueille la requête en irrecevabilité à l'égard de la seule composante du recours qui est fondée sur la responsabilité extracontractuelle. Il s'en explique dans les termes suivants, à la page 10 de son jugement:

«La requête en irrecevabilité peut-elle être accueillie partiellement?

Conscient que la requête en irrecevabilité partielle, dans le sens de l'ancienne inscription en droit partielle, n'est plus admise par le Code de procédure civile, le Tribunal estime néanmoins possible ici d'accueillir la requête en irrecevabilité à l'égard du volet de l'action qui concerne le recours en vertu de l'article 1056.

En effet, la demanderesse a réuni dans une seule demande en justice deux causes d'action essentiellement distinctes. L'irrecevabilité évidente et manifeste de l'un des deux recours que l'on cumule dans une même procédure a un caractère d'irrecevabilité totale, par opposition à l'ancienne inscription en droit partielle, en autant que ce recours distinct est concerné. D'abondant, il serait pour le moins injuste de refuser de sanctionner immédiatement cette irrecevabilité et de néanmoins faire assumer par les défendeurs l'obligation de soulever ce moyen par défense au fond avec toutes les conséquences en découlant. Le souci d'une saine administration de la justice dicte au Tribunal de rejeter dès maintenant l'action pour la partie prescrite.» [soulignements ajoutés]

[75]            C'est par ailleurs un pas de plus que franchit, en 2002, le juge Mongeon, de la Cour supérieure, dans l'affaire Saint-Martin c. Fédération des enseignants des écoles juives, REJB 2002-33284 (C.S.), le 7 mai 2002. Après avoir recensé et commenté les précédents en la matière, il conclut, aux paragraphes 34 et 39 de son jugement:

«Nos tribunaux sont donc prêts à temporiser la règle apparemment stricte de ne pas accorder d'inscriptions en droit partielles, lorsqu'il s'agit de situations où le recours faisant l'objet de la demande d'irrecevabilité peut être facilement isolé du reste de la demande.


Donc, en principe, l'irrecevabilité des conclusions 6 et 7 peut être considérée même si elle ne fait que retrancher certaines conclusions et non toutes les conclusions de la requête introductive. En d'autres termes, la règle prohibant l'irrecevabilité partielle n'est plus aussi stricte que l'on pouvait le croire. Rien ne s'opposerait, en l'absence d'autres motifs, d'accueillir la demande d'irrecevabilité partielle des conclusions 6 et 7.» [soulignements ajoutés]

[52]            Here, the Court believes that each proceeding, disposition or court appearance involving the Plaintiff and in which she could possibly have been deprived of her alleged rights must be considered as separate and dissociated events, giving rise to specific and independant claims.  It is not because certain proceedings are part of a larger instance that all those proceedings in that instance which were filed and/or dealt with beyond the three-year limitation period will become relevant only because the whole instance continued within the three-year period.

[53]            The partial Inscription in Law has been eliminated from our Code of Civil Procedure, save and except where a party joins many separate recourses in one proceeding.  If those recourses can be segregated from one another, thus those segregated recourses which happen to be prescribed may be set aside and the litigation may continue in respect of those which are not subject to the application of the three-year prescription.  This is the situation here.

[54]            Practically speaking, all those recourses which were either decided, withdrawn or settled out of Court prior to January 31st, 2005, cannot be involved or relied upon in the present matter.  However, Mrs. Finney's recourse may continue in respect of those which were still validly pending on January 31st, 2005 but only in respect of those proceedings which were filed on or after January 31st, 2005

[55]            The relevant instances listed by Mrs. Finney in her amended proceedings are, for the most part, all terminated more than three years from the institution of the present recourse.  Only the following instances are not.

[56]            The case of Christina McCullock Finney vs Pierre Gauthier et al (S.C.M. 500-05-062497-019) was instituted on January 15, 2001 and, after several years, it was inscribed for trial on January 11, 2005.  The trial was held before Madam Justice Carole Hallée in March 2006 and judgment was rendered on March 16, 2006, dismissing Plaintiff's action.

[57]            Mrs. Finney appealed on April 19, 2006 and on April 20, 2007 a Declaration of Settlement out of Court was signed and subsequently filed (April 23, 2007).

[58]            Mrs. Finney also instituted proceedings against attorney Jean St-Onge before the Disciplinary Committee of the Bar of Quebec on September 8, 1999.  Mr. St-Onge was, at the time, the attorney for the Bar of Quebec in the matter involving the Plaintiff against the Bar as a result of the acts errors and/or omissions of one Eric Belhassen which, as indicated above, was dismissed.

[59]            The hearing before the Disciplinary Committee was concluded on October 27, 2004 and the judgment of same was rendered on February 7, 2005.[6]

[60]            In her Inscription in appeal before the Tribunal des Professions, Mrs. Finney raises the fact that the hearing before the Disciplinary committee proceeded in the French language but does not list this question as a ground of appeal.  In its decision of December 19, 2005, the Tribunal des Professions summarizes the grounds of appeal as follows:

[2]        L'appelante soulève cinq moyens d'appel dans son mémoire que l'on peut résumer comme suit:

1)         Le Comité a outrepassé sa compétence en rendant une décision non fondée sur la protection du public et aurait enfreint les règles d'équité procédurale.

2)         Le Comité n'a pas fait respecter les règles de justice naturelle et aurait fait preuve de partialité.

3)         Il a commis des erreurs manifestes en faits et en droit dans l'appréciation de la preuve.

                         4)         La décision rendue est manifestement déraisonnable.

5)         Le Comité ne devait pas la condamner aux déboursés.

[61]            The Court draws from the foregoing that the question raised by Mrs. Finney in the present proceedings ("understanding what is going on" and the issues of the use of the French language) was not an issue and was not discussed before the Tribunal des Professions.

[62]            In point of fact, the decision of said Tribunal is completely silent on this question, either directly or indirectly.

[63]            Consequently, inasmuch as certain legal proceedings in two different instances involving Mrs. Finney appear to have been filed and/or heard and/or decided upon within three years of the date of institution of the present recourse.  The Court is of the view that the present recourse is not entirely prescribed.  It should be noted, however, that the AGC is not an intervenant in either of those instances whilst the AGQ has been called as a forced intervenant in only one of the two cases.

[64]            The Court considers appropriate to grant a partial Inscription in Law in favour of Defendants with respect to any claim proceeding, deposition, court appearance or demand by Mrs. Finney based upon facts or legal proceedings which were filed and/or heard and/or decided outside the three-year limitation period.

[65]            As a result, only those proceedings filed in the matter of Finney vs Pierre Gauthier et al (S.C.M. 500-05-062497-019) and in the matter of Finney vs Me Jean St-Onge before the Disciplinary Committee and the Tribunal des professions, as well as any appeal from any judgment or decision arising from these two matters need to be considered.  All others are declared to be prescribed and any reference thereto should not be considered.


C)        The argument of Res Judicata

[66]            This argument can only apply to the AGQ and not to the AGC.  In point of fact, the AGC does not raise it.

[67]             On January 13, 2006, Mr. Justice Allan R. Hilton of the Quebec Court of Appeal was seized of a Motion for Leave to Appeal from a judgment rendered by Madam Justice Carole Hallée of this Court, who was then seized of the merits of the action in the matter of Finney vs Quebec Bar Association, Me Pierre Gauthier, Me Jean St-Onge, l'Office des Professions du Québec and the AGQ[7].

[68]            Madam Justice Hallée's judgment "a quo" was rendered on the first day of trial before her.  She held that:

"Mrs. Finney is entitled to the services of an interpreter if she decides to retain such at her own cost."

[69]            Mrs. Finney's request was to have an interpreter provided in order to interpret anything said during the trial from French to English at no expense to her.

[70]            Mr. Justice Hilton dismissed the Application for Leave to Appeal.  In doing so, he wrote:

[3]        The essence of her contentions is that the right to understand what is going on during a civil trial is part and parcel of what she describes as  her common law right to a full and fair hearing, which she feels is embodied in the constitution of Canada.  To that end, she asserts that the provincial government has the constitutional obligation, at its expense, to ensure that all who appear before the courts have the means to understand all that is said during the course of a trial.

[4]        In light of her submission, I adjourned the hearing until today in order to allow Mrs. Finney to give notice of her contentions to the Attorney General of Quebec and thus to permit counsel for the Attorney General to make any representations he might wish to make with respect to Mrs. Finney's leave application.

[5]        I have been informed that the trial judge and all counsel for the respondents have undertaken to use the English language during the course of the trial, and that several witnesses who would otherwise testify in the French language have undertaken to testify in English.  I have also been Informed that as the trial has continued, these undertakings have been respected.  I have every reason to believe that they will continue to be respected.

[6]        While certainly not complaining about the undertakings to which I have referred, Mrs. Finney believes that such counsel and witnesses should not have to renounce their right to speak French during the trial if they so choose and therefore to speak English in order to accommodate her, but rather, that they too should be free to speak French if they wish, which would be facilitated if she was to have the interpretation services for which she contends.

[7]        Article 305 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides a presumptively valid mechanism to enable Mrs. Finney to examine or cross-examine, as the case may be, any witnesses who may testify in the French language, with the cost of interpretation to be borne by her, subject to such costs being taxed in her favour if she prevails on the action.

 [8]       In the particular circumstances of the current trial, the petitioner has demonstrated no prejudice by the existence and implementation of the foregoing measures, irrespective of whatever merits there may have been to her initial application to the trial judge.

[9]        I would also observe that part of the petitioner's underlying claim against the respondents in which she is claiming $3,500,000 is her assertion that in the previous trial that resulted in the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada, an actionable fault was committed by reason of the fact that many of the exchanges and much of t he testimony during the previous trial took place in the French language.  She alleges, at paragraph 10(iv) of her Re-re-re-amended declaration that:

(iv)       the defendants deliberately chose to plead and/or testify in French as a legal tactic with the specific intention of undermining the plaintiff's ability to represent herself and to prevent the plaintiff from fully understanding responses t questions put to the witnesses, the pleadings and the exchanges between the various lawyers testifying for, or representing, the defendants Barreau and Gauthier and the trial judge, thus preventing the plaintiff from getting a fair hearing and causing her unnecessary delay, inconvenience, stress and anguish;

[10]      If I was to grant leave to appeal the interlocutory judgment of the trial judge as requested by Mrs. Finney, this Court effectively would be called upon to decide one of the issues in the current trial without an adequate factual context and without the benefit of a reasoned judgment of the trial judge n the subject.  I am therefore of the view that "the pursuit of justice" at this particular stage of the proceedings, as required by article 511 C.C.P. for leave to be appeal to be granted, has not been established.

[11]      Arriving at this conclusion on Mrs. Finney's leave application, I should not be taken as having adopted any position with respect to the substance of her contentions.

                                                                                                   (emphasis added)

[71]            If, in the opinion of Mr. Justice Hilton, the "substance" of Mrs. Finney's contentions have not been dealt with, it is difficult to conclude that his judgment can be invoked as "Res Judicata".  However, it is clear that the very same question now before the undersigned was, in fact and in law, completely before Madam Justice Hallée.

[72]            On March 14, 2006, Madam Justice Hallée rendered her decision on the merits in the same file once again confronted with the very same question as the one which was identified by Hilton J.A.[8]  She treats the issue as follows:

52]     Finney soutient que le procès tenu en français devant le juge Normand l'a pénalisée.

[53]    Elle ajoute que Saint-Onge ainsi que les témoins ont choisi de parler français dans un but évident de tactique déloyale.

[54]    Il faut préciser que Finney a pu s'exprimer en anglais, et ce, également pour l'interrogatoire des témoins francophones.

[55]    La transcription complète du procès tenu devant le juge Normand a été produite de consentement. Pour appuyer ses dires, Finney a attiré l'attention du Tribunal sur certains passages :

Audience du 21 septembre 1998



I don't understand a word of what he's saying. What was «inutile»?


Well, then I didn't understand what he said. Could you repeat your answer, please?

Audience du 24 septembre 1998



Sir, you gave a long - - a very long answer which I didn't understand all of it. I understood the very beginning. If you could kindly make your answers a little shorter.

Audience du 24 septembre 1998



Sir, I wish I could ask you in French, but I can't. 


Madame Finney, madame Finney, je pense que vous êtes en train d'être … je ne trouve pas le mot exact.


Say it in French, Your Honour. I'll try to understand.

[102]      L'article 133 de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1867 garantit à toute personne le droit d'utiliser l'anglais ou le français devant les tribunaux.

133.  Dans les chambres du parlement du Canada et les chambres de la législature de Québec, l'usage de la langue française ou de la langue anglaise, dans les débats, sera facultatif; mais dans la rédaction des archives, procès-verbaux et journaux respectifs de ces chambres, l'usage de ces deux langues sera obligatoire; et dans toute plaidoirie ou pièce de procédure par-devant les tribunaux ou émanant des tribunaux du Canada qui seront établis sous l'autorité de la présente loi, et par-devant tous les tribunaux ou émanant des tribunaux de Québec, il pourra être fait également usage, à faculté, de l'une ou de l'autre de ces langues.

Les lois du parlement du Canada et de la législature de Québec devront être imprimées et publiées dans ces deux langues.

[103]      L'honorable Louise Lemelin de notre Cour écrivait ce qui suit, suite à une demande, par un requérant, d'assigner un avocat parlant et écrivant l'anglais pour s'occuper des procédures qui l'opposaient devant la Cour fédérale.  

It is impossible to conclude that the French and English languages have a different status. Their equality is guaranteed by s. 133 of the Constitution Act of 1867 and this Court has already concluded that these linguistic rights have been respected by relying, amoung others, on the words of the Honourable Beetz in Société des Acadiens :

"The guarantee of language equality is not, however, a guarantee that the official language used will be understood by the person to whom the pleading or process is addressed."[

[104]      L'honorable Lemelin rejetait la demande.

[105]      Par ailleurs, Finney a consenti à certaines admissions consignées au procès-verbal du 18 janvier 2006 :


Admissions verbales de madame Finney, le 18 janvier 2006 :


Me Gauthier says that it was his preference to speak in French. Re : Trial before Justice Normand.


Mr. Christian Gauvin, in his capacity as representative of the Barreau du Québec, Mr. Jacques Houle, in his capacity as adjoint au directeur général of the Barreau du Québec, and Mr. Jean Saint-Onge, in his capacity as legal representative for the Barreau du Québec, say that they spoke French during the trial before Justice Normand because it was their preference.

[106]      Si Finney avait été représentée par avocat et que ce dernier ne s'était pas senti à l'aise parce que plusieurs témoins allaient se prévaloir de leur droit de témoigner en français, le procureur aurait alors pris les dispositions nécessaires pour retenir les services d'un interprète. C'est le choix de Finney de ne pas l'avoir fait.


[107]      Au moment de l'audience devant l'honorable Normand, Finney s'est adressée à la Cour en anglais et a questionné tous les témoins en anglais. Par ailleurs, malgré le témoignage de Finney devant cette Cour, voulant que :« I have great difficulty with French », il semble qu'elle ait compris les réponses des témoins francophones, puisqu'elle a procédé à ses interrogatoires et contre-interrogatoires pendant dix-huit jours devant le juge Normand.

[108]      Au surplus, Finney a même questionné quelques témoins en français de la façon suivante :

Audience du 14 septembre 1998


Okay. My French is not so great.

Je veux savoir, monsieur Houle, si vous me dites que si un stage ne fonctionne pas, le Comité administratif va "order" un autre stage; c'est ça …

Audience du 17 septembre 1998


Vous ne comprenez pas?


Monsieur Gauvin, est-ce que ce n'est pas un fact que avant puis après son


… sa radiation provi … provisionnelle, monsieur Belhassen vous a téléphoné personnellement pour discuter des various complaints que moi-même a faites contre lui?

Il m'a appelé, moi? Non.

Maître Gauvin, est-ce que ce n'est pas un fact que avant puis après sa radiation provisionnelle, monsieur Belhassen a souvent parlé avec vous concernant mon caractère?


[109]      Finney comprend les réponses exprimées en français.


[110]      Enfin, ce n'était pas aux défendeurs de soulever ce problème devant le juge Normand. Par ailleurs, il est permis de s'interroger : si tout le procès de première instance s'était déroulé en anglais, le résultat final aurait-il été différent? Le Tribunal conclut par la négative.

[172]      Le Tribunal a dû composer avec les sautes d'humeur de Finney, laquelle invectivait les procureurs de commentaires désobligeants, sans compter ceux dirigés à l'endroit du Tribunal. Elle manifestait son exaspération envers tous les intervenants partie prenante au présent litige, et ce, malgré plusieurs avertissements du Tribunal. Par contre, Finney n'aurait jamais accepté un tel comportement de la part des autres parties à son endroit. Elle réclamait  « a full and fair hearing », mais selon « her own agenda ».

[173]      Le Tribunal se doit de souligner la collaboration de tous les procureurs dans cette affaire, lesquels ont permis à Finney de consulter leurs exhibits et sont allés jusqu'à repérer pour elle, dans la transcription du procès tenu devant le juge Normand, des passages susceptibles de l'aider à soutenir sa preuve.

[174]      À ce titre, le Tribunal, qui avait pris connaissance, avant l'audience, du paragraphe 10, sous-paragraphe 4, de la re-re-reamended declaration de Finney, lequel se lit comme suit :

The defendants deliberately chose to plead and/or testify in French as a legal tactic with the specific intention of undermining the plaintiff's ability to represent herself and to prevent the plaintiff from fully understanding responses to questions put to the witnesses, the pleadings and the exchanges between the various lawyers testifying for, or representing, the defendants Barreau and Gauthier and the trial judge, thus preventing the plaintiff from getting a fair hearing and causing her unnecessary delay, inconvenience, stress and anguish. (Le Tribunal souligne)

a tenté de s'assurer, dès le début de l'audience, de la compréhension de toutes les parties en cause, et plus particulièrement de celle de Finney, vu la nature de ses allégations et compte tenu que plusieurs témoins francophones étaient identifiés dans les règles 15.

[175]      Finney a plutôt exigé, de façon très agressive, « a full and fair hearing », en demandant au Tribunal de lui fournir un interprète, dont les honoraires seraient assumés par la Cour.

[176]      Après de longues représentations, le Tribunal a rendu jugement, reconnaissant à la demanderesse le droit à l'interprète à la condition, toutefois, qu'elle en assume elle-même les frais.

[177]      Finney a alors présenté une requête pour permission d'en appeler.

[178]     Le 18 janvier 2006, la requête pour permission d'en appeler a été refusée. L'honorable Hilton écrivait au paragraphe 7 de son jugement :

Article 305 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides a presumptively valid mechanism to enable Mrs. Finney to examine or cross-examine, as the case may be, any witnesses who may testify in the French language, with the cost of interpretation to be borne by her, subject to such costs being taxed in her favour if she prevails on the action.

[179]     Finney ayant toujours refusé de retenir les services d'un interprète, tous les procureurs ont offert de parler anglais, de demander à leurs témoins, dans la mesure du possible, de témoigner en anglais afin d'accommoder la demanderesse.

[180]    Alors que Finney a demandé, à la fin de la preuve, une journée afin de préparer sa plaidoirie, elle a, lors de cette journée, fait signifier « a Motion for Recusal », laquelle a été présentée au début des plaidoiries. La soussignée a rejeté cette requête et Finney n'en a pas appelé.  Au premier jour d'audience, le Tribunal ayant refusé à Finney de lui fournir un interprète, elle avait également demandé la récusation, ce qui lui avait été refusée.

[181]    Enfin, après avoir terminé son argumentation, Finney a quitté la salle d'audience, refusant d'écouter les plaidoiries des défendeurs, et ce, malgré l'avertissement du Tribunal, l'informant de son droit de réplique.

[182]     La réponse fut : « I will reply in Court of Appeal. »

[183]    D'ailleurs, à plusieurs reprises pendant la présente audience, Finney a informé la Cour qu'elle conservait ses énergies pour la Cour d'appel et la Cour suprême du Canada.

[184]   Tout en respectant les droits de la demanderesse, le Tribunal ne peut que déplorer cette attitude.

                                                                                                  (emphasis added)

[73]            Although Mrs. Finney did file an Inscription in Appeal from the above judgment[9] the matter was settled out of court on April 23, 2007.  The findings of Madam Justice Hallée are therefore final and such findings clearly and completely close the debate on the very same issue.

[74]            It is quite evident that the issue before Madam Justice Hallée are similar in essence to those raised in the present instance.  There is identity of parties, identity of object and identity of cause between the foregoing matter and the present case and, consequently, the undersigned believes that there is Res Judicata with respect to any claim directed against the Attorney General for the Province of Quebec.  It cannot be argued, however, that the principle of Res Judicata may be invoked by the AGC, the latter not being a party to one of the two cases.  There is no identity of parties.


D)        The argument of Art. 165 (4) CCP:  Even if t he facts are True, the Suit is Unfounded in Law

[75]            This last argument is invoked by both Attorneys General.

[76]            In the matter of Robert Lavigne v. The Attorney General of Quebec and the Attorney General of Canada[10], Madam Justice Louise Lemelin of this Court was seized of a similar matter as the case at Bar.  The Petitioner Lavigne was seeking a Declaratory Judgment against the Respondents compelling the Quebec Government to appoint English-speaking counsel to defend its position in a matter then before the Federal Court of Canada.  The AGQ had previously refused to do so and Lavigne argued that his "right to understand" was at stake and that his freedom of expression, right to equality of treatment, linguistic rights and protection against discrimination were in jeopardy.

[77]            The following excerpts of the judgment of Lemelin J. are self-explanatory:

 [11]     Many judgments have interpreted s. 133.  In MacDonald v. City of Montreal, the Supreme Court defined the nature of the linguistic rights therein protected, Mr. Justice Beetz explained the position of the Court:

"…the language rights then protected are those of litigants, counsel, witnesses, judges and other judicial officers who actually speak, not those of parties or others who are spoken to; and they are those of the writers or issuers of written pleadings and processes, not those of t he recipients or readers thereof."[11]

[12]      This same decision also deals with the argument whether or not the State may be a person which might benefit from s. 133:

"Whether or not the State is a person or has rights under s. 133, it was held in Blaikie No. 1 that the option to use either language under this section extends to the courts themselves in documents emanating from them or issued under their name or under their authority.  As I have said above, the summons is a process in or issuing from the Municipal Court.  Furthermore, the issuer of the summons in the case at bar had by law to be either the clerk or a judge of the Municipal Court.  These are physical persons whose language rights under s. 133 receive the same protection as those of the appellant."[12]

[13]       Proceedings or pleadings emanate from a person:  that person does not lose the protection of linguistic rights guaranteed by s. 133 of the Constitution Act of 1867 simply because he or she represents the State or is an officer of the Court.  This is the interpretation applied by the Supreme Court to the right to be heard, and to be understood in one of the official languages before the Courts[13].  The Quebec Court of Appeal reaches a similar conclusion by recognising the right of  judges to write their decision in their own language.[14]

[18]      Considering the absence of a specific provision, Respondent has no obligation to assign English speaking counsel nor to agree to conduct proceedings in English before the Federal court.  Respondent's letter of January 31, 2000, respects the linguistic rights recognised by s. 133 of the Constitution Act of 1867.

[19]       On the other hand, it is evident that all persons, not only French or English speaking individuals, have a right to be understood and to understand what is occurring when they appear before the Courts.  Procedural equity is protected notably by the Canadian Charter ss. 7 and 14[15], the latter provision even protecting an individual's right to assistance by an interpreter.

[20]       Petitioner, while relying on s. 7 of the Canadian Charter, does not justify how his right to life, liberty and security of the person would be compromised by having Respondent contest his application before Federal Court in French.  Furthermore, s. 15.2 of the Official languages Act guarantees Petitioner's right to an interpreter before the Federal Court:

"15.2 Every federal court has in any proceedings conducted before it, the duty to ensure that, at the request of any party to the proceedings, facilities are made available for the simultaneous interpretation of the proceedings, including the evidence given and taken from one official language into the other."

[21]      Mr. Lavigne argues that, even if he is allowed an interpreter, the rules of natural justice would not be respected in the conduct of such a hearing.  The Court does not endorse this argument.  Doing so would imply that no equitable hearing could ever be held for individuals who do not speak either one of the official languages.  Procedural equity does not require that Respondent assign English speaking counsel to handle any given case[16].  It's objective is to guarantee that an individual may understand the arguments of the other party and have the opportunity to argue and to express their own.

[26]      The Court cannot read sections 2b) and 3 of the Canadian and Quebec Charters as imposing the obligation on the government to legislative compel itself to assign as its counsel those who speak the language of the other party.  The remedy sought by Mr. Lavigne is in fact more of the nature of a legislative policy.

[34]      Would Mr. Lavigne be subjected to different treatment under the law because the services of an interpreter are required to ensure that his linguistic rights are protected?  The Supreme Court has answered this question negatively in Mercure[17] by relying on the majority's opinion in Société des Acadiens du Nouveau-Brunswick.[18]

[78]            These findings, in the opinion of the undersigned, are sufficient and complete on the question raised by Mrs. Finney.  They are conclusive on the question.

[79]            Although the decision of Hallée J. may not be invoked as "Res Judicata" against the AGC (who was not a party to the case), her findings as well as those of Hilton JA. cited above on the very issue raised by the present proceedings, are significant and important in the Court's appreciation of the legal basis upon which Mrs. Finney relies.  In short, the Court may consider the two judgments in question in its analysis of the Plaintiff's chances of success.  In so doing, the Court is even more convinced that Mrs. Finney has no chance of success whatsoever against the AGC or the AGQ (irrespective of the argument of Res Judicata).

[80]            If this Court is convinced that even if all of the facts alleged by Mrs. Finney are true, there is no legal basis to support the conclusions sought, then Mrs. Finney's application must be dismissed.

[81]            The Court must, however, have the certitude that there are no legal grounds to support Mrs. Finney's position.  A mere probability or strong assurance on the part of the undersigned would not be sufficient to dismiss the Originating Motion.  The Court is not here to assess the chances of success or defeat of Mrs. Finney's propositions.  The Court's certitude must be absolute.  Otherwise, the Court must send the matter (or more specifically what is left of it) to trial.

[82]            With great respect for the contrary view, the undersigned is absolutely convinced that the Originating Motion has no valid legal basis and must be dismissed at this stage.

[83]            Mrs. Finney wishes to have this Court declare that she has a right to free (or State-funded) translation and interpreter services.  Without this declaration, her Originating Motion seeking damages for having been deprived of these services has no merit whatsoever.

[84]            The two judgments of Lemelin and Hallée JJ. are strong and conclusive authority for the proposition that Mrs. Finney has no right to assert.  The comments of Hilton JA. are also conclusive in that if he would have seen some possible or remote chance of success in Mrs. Finney's argument, then he would surely have granted leave.

[85]            But mere reliance to two decisions of a Tribunal of First Instance may not always be sufficient to create the certitude needed to conclude against Plaintiff.

[86]            This certitude proceeds from the fact that, amongst other arguments, there is no equivalent in civil matters to sections 530 to 533.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada, which settle the question in the field of criminal law.  There, the right of an accused to free translation and interpreter services is clearly established.

[87]            Neither the AGC and the AGQ have enacted any legislation (statutory or regulatory) which would extend this right to civil litigants.  Without a specific equivalent text applicable to the present case, the Court cannot impose such an obligation upon any level of government, nor can the Court oblige any such government to enact such legislation or regulation.

[88]            In Société des Acadiens du Nouveau-Brunswick (cited supra), the Supreme Court of Canada clearly indicated that a litigant had the right to have a civil trial before a judge who is capable of understanding submissions in either one of the official languages of Canada.  This right was qualified as a fundamental right by opposition to a language right.  But here, the situation is different: only the cost of translation or interpreter services is at issue, not the question of whether these services should be available to the Plaintiff.  They are, and no one disputes this fact.

[89]            Access to justice is one thing.  The question of the costs involved to have access to the judicial system is another question.  In a non-criminal or penal situation, there is no legal principle or rule which could allow this Court to impose upon either level of government the obligation to assume the costs of translation or interpreter services as  a general principle.

[90]            This situation is not unique to the province of Quebec.  In Marshall v. Gorge Vale Golf Club[19] it was held that the British Columbia Supreme Court had no power to order the provincial government to provide free transcription services to a deaf litigant in a civil matter.  The right to an interpreter under section 14 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not create an obligation of the Crown to pay for the services of an interpreter.  In reaching this conclusion, Ruttan J. stated:

[11]    It should be noted that in exercising these powers by statute, the authority given to the Attorney-General is not mandatory but discretionary, and that the duties and powers are administrative rather than judicial. If therefore this court has jurisdiction, such jurisdiction goes no further than to allow a litigant to pursue his rights, including the rights of natural justice. Further on the rights of natural justice, I quote from the judgment of Mr. Justice Scarman in Hartley v. Fuld, [1965] 2 All E.R. 653 (P.D.A.), at p. 655:

I am engaged in hearing a contest of private interests. It is important in such a contest that I should be careful to observe that the principles of natural justice are maintained. Those principles, in so far as they are relevant to my present task, are that every litigant should have the right to be present, to hear the evidence, to challenge the evidence, to call evidence himself, and to present his case to the court while hearing and, if necessary, challenging his opponent's case. There is this difference, however, between civil litigation and a criminal case; in a criminal case life or liberty are at stake, and willy-nilly the accused is brought before the court and is faced with a procedure which can have penal consequences. Civil litigation always is a matter for the parties - they need not fight. If they do fight, then the court must see that they have their rights including the rights of natural justice, but it is not for the court to impose those rights on parties who do not seek to exercise them. It is for the court only to be quite sure that the parties have every opportunity of dealing with the case against them, of presenting and developing their case.

[12]    The case at bar presents a new way to introduce evidence, but it is still conducted as civil litigation, privately and separately arranged without any application to the Crown. This was not a case where the court facilities were sought. The plaintiff did not ask for someone as an interpreter or translator. He had his own facilities. I can see no reason why he should get any assistance in this case, having already made his own private arrangements.

[13]    In any event, as Mr. Groberman submitted, the purposes for which payment is now requested are purely of an administrative nature which are within the Crown's discretion, not within the power of the court to order. As such, therefore, this application, if it can be made at all, should be under the Judicial Review Procedure Act, R.S.B.C. 1979, c. 209, for an order in the nature of a mandamus to command the performance of a public duty by the Crown Provincial.

[14]   Finally some reference should be made to s. 14 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, although it is not referred to or relied upon by either counsel. Section 14 is directly concerned with interpreters and deaf parties and witnesses. It reads as follows:

14.   A party or witness in any proceedings who does not understand or speak the language in which the proceedings are conducted or who is deaf has the right to the assistance of an interpreter.

[15]    This section was considered in the recent decision by Skipp L.J.S.C. in Wyllie v. Wyllie, B.C.S.C., Vancouver, A863161, March 20, 1987 [now reported 30 C.R.R. 181], and dealt with the issue of whether this enactment (s.14 of the Charter) created an obligation on the Crown such that an order should be made directing it to pay the interpreter's fees for the plaintiff, a deaf-mute, in her action for annulment of her marriage. His Honour concluded [at p. 184 C.R.R.]:

I am of the view that under s. 14 of the Charter a litigant in a civil proceeding “has the right to the assistance of an interpreter”. I am of the further view that the initial responsibility of the litigant requiring the services of an interpreter is to pay that interpreter's fee, and I therefore decline the order sought by the plaintiff.

[16]    ith respect I agree with the interpretation of s. 14 contained in the judgment of His Honour Judge Skipp.

[17]   The plaintiff's motion is therefore dismissed. I think that in the circumstances there should be no order as to costs, except that the successful defendant in the trial is entitled to some costs if he wishes to seek them, and counsel may arrange that matter or come before me again.

[91]            In Farimex Marketing International Inc. v. Owen[20], Mr. Justice François Rolland (as he then was) held that in a context similar to the present one (application by defendant for free interpreter services during a civil trial) the state had no obligation to provide free translation or interpreter services.

[92]            See also:  In Ref: Bankruptcy of Kenneth Roy-Sinclair et al, H.H. Davis & Associates Trustee vs Henry Sztern and Natalie Luffer et al [2007] Q.C.C.S. 617 (Journet J.);

[93]            In summary, the Court is absolutely convinced that the application of Mrs. Finney as exposed in her Amended Motion Institute Proceedings should be dismissed for lack of legal basis and for being unfounded in law.


Summary and conclusion

[94]            Mrs. Finney's Application has the merit of raising an interesting question but, with great respect for the contrary view, the undersigned is convinced that her Originating Motion must be dismissed.

[95]            While Mrs. Finney has standing to sue on her own behalf, she has no standing to raise this question outside the context of a "real live case".  In other words, the Court would not have been prepared to allow Mrs. Finney to debate this issue as a pure theoretical application without a specific need for the remedy sought.

[96]            Of course, this conclusion is much easier to reach once the Court concludes that Mrs. Finney's Motion to Institute Proceedings must be dismissed.

[97]            As indicated above, most of the factual causes of action raised by the Plaintiff are prescribed.  Only those legal proceedings instituted, processed or decided upon after January 31st, 2005 are to be considered.  That leaves only two instances still active as of that date.

[98]             Mrs. Finney's claim against the AGQ must be dismissed because of the application of the Res Judicata principle.

[99]            As for Mrs. Finney's case against the AGC, it must also be dismissed because even if all the remaining facts alleged are true, the Court is convinced that there is no basis in law to grant the reliefs sought.

[100]       All of the cases dealing with the alleged obligation of any government to provide translation or interpreter services free of charge have been dismissed.  There are no decisions supporting Mrs. Finney's view.  And if there were, these decisions would not point out to an obligation of the AGC, mainly because of the fact that this is a matter involving property and civil rights in the Province of Quebec, a matter which is not within the Canadian or Federal Government's sphere of jurisdiction.

[101]       In addition to the arguments set forth above, the Court is of the opinion that it would be a sterile and unduly costly debate to pursue for all parties but especially for the Plaintiff herself.  While this last comment cannot be a determinant factor, it is nonetheless a factor.

[102]       The Court will not allow this matter to go any further, but given the subject-matter, there shall be no award as to costs.




GRANTS the Exceptions to Dismiss the Plaintiff's Action of the Attorneys                   

General of Canada and Quebec;


DISMISSES Plaintiff's Motion to Dismiss the Exceptions to Dismiss;


DISMISSES Plaintiff's Motion to Institute Proceedings dated January 31st,

2008 and all amendments thereto.











Madam Christina McCullock Finney

           Self represented



Me Geneviève Lessard and Me Mary Pagonis

           Bernard, Roy (Justice-Québec)

           Attorney for the Attorney General of Quebec


Me Michelle Lavergne and Me Marc Ribeiro

           Joyal, LeBlanc (Dir. du droit réglementaire, Justice Canada)

           Attorneys for the Attorney General of Canada


Me William J. Atkinson and Me Gene Kruger

           McCarthy, Tétrault

           Attorneys for the Federation of Law Societies of Canada



Date of hearing:

March 12, 2009


[1] The complete list of cases has been provided in Mrs. Finney's amended and particularized Motion following a judgment of Mr. Justice Pierre Tessier, j.s.c.  Furthermore, copies of Court dockets of all these cases were filed as Exhibits to the Affidavit of Mr. Steve Massenant, a Paralegal of the Federal Department of Justice, including the missing copy of Docket 500-01-018618-931.

[2] Constitutional Act 1982 c. 11(U.K.)

[3] [1975] 1 SCR 138

[4] [1976] 1 SCR 265

[5] [1981] 2 SCR 236

[6] See paragraphs 20 and 21 of the decision of the Tribunal des Professions

[7] S.C.M. 500-05-062497-019

  C.A.M. 500-09-016321-069

[8] 500-05-013814-965

[9] 500-09-016593-003 (13 April 2006)

[10] 500-05-056434-002 (S.C. - 14 December 2000)

[11] MacDonald v. City of Montréal (1986) 1 S.C.R. 460 , 483; see also Cross c. Teasdale (1998) R.J.Q. 2587 (C.A.)

[12] supra note 6, at 484

[13] Société des Acadiens v. Association of Parents (1986) 1 S.C.R. 549

[14] Pilote c. Corporation de l'hôpital de Bellechasse de Montréal (1994) R.J.Q. 2431 (C.A.) application for leave to appeal at the Supreme Court was dismissed; see also Morand et al. c. Québec (Procureur général), J.E. 2000-1965 (C.A.)

[15] Société des Acadiens, supra note 8, at 577-578; see also Beaulac, supra note 10, at 799, par. 41, 47

[16] Cross, supra note 6, at 2594

[17] R. v. Mercure (1988) 1 R.C.S. 234

[18] supra note 8

[19] [1987] 39 D.L.R. (4th) 472

[20] 2000 J.Q. No. 1179, 500-05-013478-951

Le lecteur doit s'assurer que les décisions consultées sont finales et sans appel; la consultation du plumitif s'avère une précaution utile.

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